Its exquisite architecture and winding waterways have attracted travelers for over a hundred years but currently, the riverport city Bruges Belgium is taking steps to limit tourists numbers.
The authorities of the medieval city are stopping advertising and introducing curbs on holiday homes and cruise ships in a bid to keep their “Venice of the North” tolerable for locals and preserve the charm of the Flemish city.
In 2018, a total of 8.3 million tourists visited Bruges, a surge of 900,000 people in comparison with 2017. Of them, 6 million were day-trippers and stayed in Bruges for just 2 to 3 hours. Passengers from cruise ships moored at the Port Zeebrugge, located nearby.
During the last 2 weeks of 2018, there were a total of 50-60,000 travelers packing out the narrow streets of Bruges or floating on its iconic canals. At peak times, tourists can outnumber city's residents 3 to 1. The authorities intend to limit the number of river cruise ships moored at the port. The dock can normally handle up to 5 riverboats simultaneously, that will also be encouraged to call on weekdays rather than weekends.
Bruges City will no longer advertise in hotels or Belgian tourist destinations like Brussels in a bid to curb the footfall. It is following the example of Amsterdam Holland that recently halted spending on publicity.